SFL Div One: DUNFERMLINE 1 RAITH ROVERS 0 : Date: 02/01/13
For the first time since 1997 Raith were the Pars first foots at East End Park and as far as both sets of fans are concerned there could be no better fixture to see in the New Year. Jim Jefferies made three changes from the team defeated last Saturday by Morton. Jordan McMillan served the second of his two match suspension following the red card against Falkirk meaning Andy Geggan continued at right back.
Out from the side that started at Cappielow went Andy Barrowman, Craig Dargo and Stephen Husband making way for Joe Cardle and Andy Kirk and a first SFL start for 19 year old Shaun Byrne. The U20s captain filled the berth in midfield vacated by Husband who had started every game since 25th August.
Raith made one change from the side that drew with Cowdenbeath - Jason Thomson starting in place of Laurie Ellis. The visitors, in red, kicked off through Spence and Smith and the Pars enjoyed much of the early possession and in three minutes Wallace and Kirk combined to create danger inside the penalty box but the Rovers defence came out on top.
Raith's top scorer Brian Graham had the first shot on target in fifth minute. Gallacher saved but the offside flag had been raised anyway. Kirk had a header wide left from an Andy Dowie free kick two minutes later then Jordan pumped a 8th minute free kick into the box and Graham headed behind for the first corner of the match but that was easily defended.
Gallacher held another effort from Graham when a decent cross from the right gave him the chance of a header. There was a better build up in 15 minutes when Jordan picked out Byrne and he passed a player before threading a ball into the box for Ryan Thomson but the defence snuffed out what was potentially a good chance.
Dunfermline continued to look the better side and there was another impressive ball from Byrne receiving a Cardle pass and pinging it right for Andy Geggan but the final cross was defended. Byrne then earned a free kick on the edge of the box and Ryan Wallace's attempt came off the wall for another corner on the right. This time Morris got his head on the end of the cross but the effort sailed over the bar.
Raith's first corner in 27 minutes came as a result of Jordan running the ball out on the left side but that was successfully defended. Wallace beat the keeper two minutes later but Dougie Hill's diving header kept it out. Immediately after that a sweeping pass from Jordan to Geggan let the full back cross into the six yard box but neither Kirk nor Thomson could convert the chance.
Closer to the break the Rovers came back into the game and there was a good opportunity from a 21 yard free kick awarded for a Cardle push. Joe Hammill skied the setpiece into the McCathie Stand however. Not the most exciting 45 minutes of the season.
Half time: Dunfermline 0 Raith Rovers 0
The second 45 could have started much better, Falkingham set up but Wallace's cut back was not accepted in 48 minutes. Then Wallace popped a shot after good build up play down the right, but his attempt travelled across the goalmouth.
The travelling support roared as Grant Anderson beat the offside trap to win a 54th minute corner on the left and there was quite a let off as Graham got his head on the delivery from the left but somehow the ball was kept out at the right post. Gall claimed he got his hand to it but the Rovers players were adamant that Wallace on the post had done the same!
At the other end a Pars corner was defended only as far as Byrne on the edge of the box and his shot only just cleared the crossbar. On the hour Joe Cardle's cross into the box travelled all the way through to Andy Kirk but from close in he too sent the ball over the bar.
Jason Thomson's 64th minute shot was deflected for a corner but that failed to cause the Pars any problems. The home side threatened again through Wallace but he failed to get the shot away after beating two defenders on the right side of the box. The Pars were pressing better with a greater proportion of the possession. Walker pumped a free kick through the Pars box and then Gallacher plucked a dangerous cross out of the air.
Then the breakthrough. In 71 minutes a corner from the right was defended out as far as Byrne, he switched it right and when the ball was crossed GEGGAN appeared from nowhere to head the ball in at the near post. First Dunfermline goal for the Pars no.2. 1-0
Gallacher again did well to keep out a Walker flick but Raith were not going to give up without a fight, Morris did really well to deny Spence but Rovers did earn a corner. The Pars scrambled that away before Stephen Husband replaced Byrne with ten minutes remaining.
Thomson might have killed the game in 86 minutes when he benefitted from a good Cardle run but when played in he passed a good opportunity beyond the far post. The Pars saw out the rest of the time to secure their first three points of 2013. Barrowman had a great chance for a second from a Wallace cut back but Laidlaw miraculously kept his shot out. Good news too from Cappielow where Morton went down to Dumbarton, bad news Pars play Dumbarton next!
DUNFERMLINE: Paul Gallacher; Andy Geggan, Andy Dowie, Callum Morris, Stephen Jordan (c), Josh Falkingham, Shaun Byrne (Stephen Husband 80), Ryan Thomson, Joe Cardle (Craig Darg 86), Ryan Wallace, Andy Kirk (Andy Barrowman 69).
SUBS NOT USED: John Potter, Michal Hrivnak (GK).
YELLOW CARD: Byrne (15)
SCORER: Geggan (71)
RAITH ROVERS: Ross Laidlaw; Jason Thomson, Dougie Hill, Simon Mensing, Eddie Malone (Reece Donaldson 26); Allan Walker (c), Joe Hamill, Grant Anderson (Pat Clarke 83), David Smith, Greig Spence, Brian Graham.
SUBS NOT USED: Laurie Ellis, Stuart Anderson, David McGurn (GK)
YELLOW CARD: Mensing (34), Donaldson (45)
REFEREE: Craig Charleston.
WEATHER: Damp 7C
50/50 Half Time Draw: Winning ticket number 20474 won £1000.
Second prize number 22377 won £20 DAFC gift voucher.
NEXT MATCH: (away) SFL First Division v Dumbarton
Saturday 5th January 2013, kick off 3.00pm
- www: MATCH PICTURES
Ladbrokes Championship: Saturday 22nd April, Dunfermline v Falkirk kick off 3.00pm